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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  March 1, 2014 1:30pm-2:01pm PST

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agreement of association with you. this is a complex decision. one of the mistakes of the ukranian leadership maybe was the fact that at the last minute they realized that that agreement on association that was being proposed by brussels could have significant economic consequences for ukraine. in these conditions, the ukranian leadership, the president, took a decision which is fully constitutional, and it fully meets the prerogatives of the head of any state to refrain, pull back at the moment, from signing an agreement on association with the e.u. that didn't mean, as many have said that, there was a full repudiation of european orientation, just that he had to weigh the circumstances that had come together at that time. so i repeat, that was a decision which was fully within the legitimate prerogatives of the leadership of ukraine.
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so i have the question, why did this problem need to be -- result in street manifestations? why is it that these street demonstrations need to be encouraged from abroad, encouraged by people from the e.u.? why did the speakers of several countries of the e.u., why did they need to appear at these meetings that were ignited by protests against this decision by the ukranian leadership? why did officials need to talk about bringing -- whipping up the public and whipping up leaders of the opposition? why is it that -- why did there have to be such crude interventions in the internal sovereignty of ukraine? and they are another question to be asked. during the crisis, reacting to these protests the president yanukovych -- and i don't want to condone his actions. many things could be said. i'll just repeat the facts.
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that the leader of the opposition, mr. yatsenyuk was offered the p.m. why not accept that proposal? why continue to rachet up the situation in he could have created a government, mr. yatsenyuk, if he wanted to sign an agreement on association with the e.u. he could have. then he would have been responsible for the catastrophic consequences, economic consequences for the country if he signed that agreement. and then in 2015 there will be presidential elections in ukraine. and if the people don't like the opposition to mr. yanukovych, then let them elect another one. that happened in ukraine before they did that. and yanukovych lost elections, other presidents came in in ukraine. so why continue to whip up the situation? and why some of our western colleagues, are they trying to spur on a continuation of this
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confrontation? why bring the people into the streets, the armed militants into the street? why these armed militants need to throw things at the police? molotov cock tails? why go after the police? one of the scoldings or one of the terrorists -- one of the criticism have been made against people, why are there -- there's no criticisms of people fighting for democracy. the people fighting for democracy there have been no criticism. so why do they exist if they're going to react to this type of manifestation? why should they exist? as a result of the development of the crisis in this way, an agreement was signed, 21st of fiction. and president yanukovych and the opposition signed it. in it there were the signatures of three foreign affairs ministers. minister of foreign affairs of germany, france and poland. it was a very important agreement that was reached. and at a later stage of the crisis, it gave an opportunity to get out of the crisis
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situation. under this agreement there should be a national unit government formed in ten days, constitutional reforms undertaken and then the constitution being adopted by december 2015 there would be presidential elections. the opposition and the authorities of the opposition said that they would not use force. they were to give over their weapons to whoever was supposed to keep them. why was this agreement not complied with? why was it not implemented? why did we hear threats against president yanukovych as a result of which he had to leave kiev? why is it that the parliament with its new membership, ukranian parliament, with the traumatic changes, why did it first right off the top take a decision to take away -- make a decision to take away the language legislation which says that people have the right to use specific languages, minority
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languages, of not only russian language but oral minority languages have the right? why the first day was that decision taken to take those away? was it -- it was not a political coalition or process that they were talking about. it's that one of the leaders of the opposition was called -- was trying to push his will, called himself a victor and trying to force his will on people. i'm not talk about whether there were a lot of them -- or not a lot of them, but there were a number of groups. and among these groups there are some radical extremists. activists who in fact -- who work on ukranian security, that work in that area. now, what has taken place the last few days, which really is why we are meeting today. well, it's a very difficult situation the last few hours has
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not happened in crimea. but in the eastern part of ukraine there's been a lot of concern and particularly in crimea, and we've seen the emergence of people from kiev with a clear intention of repeating what's in kiev, what has been happening in the western part of ukraine. they want to replace the regional government. so that has created great concern in the eastern part of the country, especially in the republic of crimea. so in these circumstances, the head of the ministers, mr. axion in crimea made a statement. today this was referenced by mr. eliason. i will quote the statement "in spite of the agreement which was achieved by the central authorities, there cannot be a change of the security without the agreement of the council and the republic of crimea the violation of the constitution and the violation of laws on the police yesterday, the 28th of
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february, and the beginning of the police action has meant that in these -- in this -- in crimea with the people that are there that are trying to control the situation and the territory, because of the situation there has been disorder and with use of weapons. so then the statement i'll quote now that was issued today by the minister of foreign affairs of russia. the night of march 1st some unknown people sent from kiev made attempts to take over the ministry of internal affairs building in crimea. because of these provocations, there were casualties. there was an attempt to take over other buildings. the attempt they tried to block it. there were some politicians in kiev that are trying to stir up the situation on the peninsula upon orders of kiev. it's very irresponsible to try to whip up the situation in a
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situation that is already very tense already in crimea. so in these conditions, what i mentioned by mr. axion, the prime minister of crimea, he went to the president of russia and made a request to provide assistance to restore peace in crimea. this information is an appeal about mr. yanukovych, his removal from office we thought was done by -- not done in a legal way. as a result of this statement or appeal, the president of russia under our constitutional procedures sent to the council of the federation the following request, that due to the extraordinary situations taking place in ukraine, threats to the lives of russian citizens, our compatriots, the military people of the russian federation that are there, that have been sent there under the agreement we have with ukraine and to crimea,
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under the relevant parts of the constitution, we have gone to the parliament and asked for the possibility of use of force by the russian federation on ukraine until there is a normalization of the civic and political situation in ukraine end of quote. i'd like to draw your attention to it says on the territory of ukraine. not against ukraine as my ukranian colleague said but on the territory of ukraine until the normalization of the civic and political situation in this country. on the recent reports that i have, including on the statement by the representative of the president of the russian federation for the press, a decision on use of armed forces, on the territory of ukraine, the president of the russian federation has not taken that decision. now, the how to get out of this
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situation, i repeat, as mr. eliason said quite correctly, we need cooler heads to prevail. and we have to get back to the political constitutional path. we need to go back to the agreement of the 25th of february and establish a national unity government. and we need to put an end to attempts to converse with opponents, ethnic opponents, political with force international events that have stirred up interest in ukraine that we need to sideline the radicals, and we have to -- with those opponents in kiev, they have to get away from the radicals. and they have to get back to the territory of ukraine. because such actions that they're taking could lead to very difficult developments, which the russian federation is trying to avoid. thank you very much, madam president.
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>> translator: i thank the representative of the russian federation. and i now give the floor to the representative of the united states. >> thank you, madam president. the united states renews our call for the international community to support the newly formed government of ukraine and to prevent unnecessary violence. i'd like to take a moment to respond to the comments made here by the representative of the russian federation. actions speak louder than words. early this morning, the russian duma acted to authorize the use of military force in ukraine. this is as dangerous as it is destabilizing. we are deeply disturbed by reports this morning of russian military intervention into crimea. this intervention is without legal basis, indeed it violates russia's commitment to protect the sovereignty territorial integrity and independence of ukraine. it is time for the russian
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intervention in ukraine to end. the russian military must stand down, the aspirations of the ukranian people must be respected, and political dialogue must be allowed to continue. we applaud the remarkable rerestaurant ar rerestaurant ar restraint to that dialogue. we have said from the outset that we recognize and respect russia's historical ties to ukraine. but instead of engaging the government of ukraine and international institutions about its concerns for ethnic russians, russia ignored both and has instead acted unilaterally and military. it is ironic that the russian federation regularly goes out of its way in this chamber to emphasize the sanctity of national borders and of sovereignty. but russian actions in ukraine are violating the sovereignty of ukraine and pose a threat to peace and security. russia alleges various actions against and threats to minority
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groups in ukraine. we see no evidence of these actions yet, but russia's provocative actions could easily push a tense situation beyond the breaking point. russia's incitement of groups to come out to protest is not responsible behavior in the present situation. there is a clear way forward that would preserve ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and address russia's concerns. first, russia should directly engage the government of ukraine. second, international monitors and observers, including from the u.n. and osce, should be sent to ukraine. that's the best way to get the facts, monitor conduct, and to prevent any abuses. russia is a leading member of both institutions and can participate actively to ensure that its interests are upheld. the immediate deployment of international observers from either the osce or united nations to crimea would also provide transparency about the movement and activities of
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military and paramilitary forces in the region, and diffuse the tensions between different groups. we are also working to stand up an international mediation mission to the crimea to begin to deescalate the situation and facilitate productive and peaceful political dialogue among all ukranian parties. our paramount concerns are to end the confrontation and to find a solution that allows the ukranian people to determine their own destiny, their own government, their own future. that must be the goal of this council and the international community. the united nations will work with ukraine, oural lies and partners in europe and around the world, and here at the united nations to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and democratic future of ukraine. thank you. >> translator: i thank the representative of the united states, and i give the floor to the representative of the united kingdom. >> president, as the permanent representative of russia has suggested that some e.u. member
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states were somehow involved in making the crisis in ukraine worse, i should like to set out clearly my government's position. the united kingdom is deeply concerned by the escalation of tensions in the crimea peninsula and by the fact that the russian parliament has authorized russian military action on ukranian soil against the wishes of the ukranian government. this action is a grave threat to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of ukraine. we condemn any act of aggression against ukraine. we have therefore sought an immediate and full explanation from the russian federation for the decision to authorize -- >> you've just been listening to an emergency session of the u.n. security council there discussing the situation in ukraine, really a riveting back and forth between the ukraine's representative, russia's representative and u.s. representative, ambassador is a
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man th samantha power. let me briefly summarize. samantha power, the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. saying it is time for russian intervention in ukraine to end, and she argues that it is as dangerous as it is destabilizing. and she also goes on to suggest some steps that the u.s. and its partners are working on, including bringing international monitors. before that we heard from the russian ambassador to the u.n., vitaly churkin in a very defiant argument starting by saying that really the russians were asked to come in by crimean representatives, pro-russian in that part of the country. said they received a request to provide assistance to restore peace in that country. he also went on to make the charge that it was the west, including the e.u. and the u.s., who stirred up the disturbances in kiev, saying that it was in his words a crude intervention into the internal sovereignty of the ukraine. so in effect, russia there reversing the tables on the u.s. saying they are not violating
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ukraine's sovereignty but that in fact the west did that by getting involved in those demonstrations. we are joined now by our team of correspondents. we have elise labott at the state department, richard roth at the u.n. and christiane amanpour in london. christiane, tell me what you heard that was the most striking part of this. >> reporter: well, all sides staked out the positions that we've been hearing over the last 24 hours. there was nothing new in who they blamed and counter blame. i found it striking that the russians didn't go as heavily in a diatribe against the united states as the u.s. did against russia. the things that were slightly interesting were both the united states and russia named a couple of avenues out of this. russia suggested that there should be a government of national unity in the ukraine, and also that the rights of the ethnic russians should be respected. the russians have been very angry that the interim ukranian government issued a law banning
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the russian language and also that they disbanded the security service, the riot police. from the u.s. point of view as you point out, there was a long list of suggestions, and apparently work under way according to the united states to involve many, many different international organizations in fact gatherings, in missions to ukraine and to crimea, and indeed as a way to observe and monitor and mediate the way forward. insisting also the u.s. ambassador that russia, which is part of these organizations that were named, would be able to have its own interests respected. so there did seem to be an attempt to step back from the brink, but it's still clearly a very, very difficult situation. the russian ambassador again stating that the russian government has not made a decision as to whether to have a full-scale military intervention. we'll see how this diplomacy works out. >> i was watching my watch, it
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was at least ten minutes before the russian ambassador to the u.n., vitaly churkin started talking about the issue on hand, troops on the ground. he was reiterating old charges that the u.s. and west were behind the demonstrations in kiev. it struck me early on that the deputy secretary general eliason mentioned a hopeful sign today, the government in kiev mentioned the idea of broadening the government to add more representatives from eastern ukraine, which speaks to your point about creating a unity government. do you see that as a hopeful sign as well? >> reporter: well, it's an indispensable necessity at this point. in fact, we've been reporting on this from the beginning of this week. the foreign ministers who negotiated that deal that you heard churkin talking about a week ago have said over and over again, particularly the polish representative that there had to be a clear demonstration that
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the new interim authorities in ukraine were not just for their side of ukraine but for all of ukraine, including obviously the ethnic russians and those who see their future aligned with russia, particularly in the crimea and that part of ukraine. so this has been something that really they need to do. it's the sine quanon of any kind of revolution. you have to be of all the people not just for one side. and i think that's going to be something that's going to be heavily urged on the new ukranian authorities and to see whether there can be some kind of mediation. interestingly, the polish foreign minister said, this was last week, that one of the reasons he believed yanukovych had agreed to sort of step back and shorten his time in power -- now this is before yanukovych fled, before the order was given to kill all those people -- was that president putin himself had said to yanukovych it's time to sort of shorten your time in office and have new elections. so as long as the can
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be brought on board, then it looks like there might be some hope to some kind of mediation. but it's going to be some tough diplomacy ahead. >> christiane, as you've been speaking there we're seeing this meeting now breaking up at the u.n. security council. a little less than an hour as they held this emergency session to discuss the situation, the crisis on the ground in ukraine. i'm going to bring in our richard roth from the u.n. now. before the russian and american ambassadors spoke we saw the ukraine ambassador, yur yuri surgeyev speak as well. he said they want peace restored threatened by russia's intervention. he also mentioned his interest in having international monitors on the ground there, something that ambassador power mentioned. do you see, richard that, those efforts that planning is under way already to bring as ambassador power said a mediation mission, the possibility of monitors? how far along is that option or is it still just in discussion? >> reporter: that could be in
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discussion. we now know that secretary general ban ki-moon of the u.n. has spoken with putin of russia in the last hour or so. we're awaiting details on that conversation. i don't want to guess, but we could see some early feelers regarding the idea of monitors or any type of discussions. this is where the u.n. comes into play. you've got two differing sides. the u.n. can be the honest broker to try to set up something. as you mentioned, u.s. ambassador power talking about monitors from either the u.n. or the european security organizations. the ukraine ambassador did not speak that long compared to the russian ambassador. usually lit country that's got the big complaint and brings the meeting before the cameras usually they go on for awhile. perhaps ukraine is regretting that. ukraine said that russian troops by the hour continue to pour in, though he didn't give the same number as one of his spokesmen of 15,000 russian troops in crimea which we do not have any confirmation on. the security council will be watching the situation in the days ahead. they'll come right back for meetings. they may want to embarrass
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russia if things heat up and force a moscow veto. for now as you heard churkin of russia saying cooler heads should prevail. but actions speak louder than words says his u.s. counterpart. >> and churkin said that cooler heads should prevail but then accused hit ukranian counterpart of not having a cooler head in effect. although sergeyev's comments from what i hear were fairly measured and calm and much shorter than his russian counterparts. i want to bring in elise labott, foreign affairs reporter, talking about u.s. involvement. you've been discussing options on the table for secretary kerry and president obama. you talked about how an essential focus here is getting russian buy, in trying to convince the russians they can have a part, a relationship with a unified ukraine with the government going forward. how much of a priority is that? >> reporter: i think that's going to be the big priority, jim. nobody wants to see this escalate. and we've been talking throughout the day about how the u.s. and russia have so many
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issues that they're working on together. on syria, on iran. definitely don't want any of those to suffer and don't want to see any type of military intervention getting any larger in ukraine. so i think right now the discussions are centered around how can they send a message to president putin not just that there will be costs which is the stick but what's the carrot, that if you can be part of the solution, if you could help develop a strong independent democratic ukraine you can have wide-ranging relationships on the diplomatic, political and economic front with ukraine similar to a country like finland which is a neighbor of russia which has very close ties with the european union but also has a very good, close economic and political relationship with russia. so i think what you're hearing at the united nations, even though there's a lot of tough rhetoric going on, you heard ambassador samantha power calling it quote ironic that russia's always talking about the sanctity and the sovereignty
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of other countries, a kind of dig at how the russians have been dealing on syria, but also talking about mediation and talking about how russian interests can be protected. so i think that's really what we're going to see in the next couple of days, maybe a mediator go there, maybe some discussion on how to make sure that russia has a seat at the table here. >> i suppose the trouble is those carrots and sticks i'm sure have been a topic of conversation in all the back and forth we've seen over the last 48, 72 hours before those russian force moved in and yet russia went forward. what we have learned, the president's national security adviser ben rhodes has tweeted just a short time ago that the president today was in touch with several world leaders involved in this crisis. so clearly those conversations continuing. we're going to take a short break now. you've just watched this emergency session in the u.n. security council. we're going have our reporters elise labott, richard roth at the u.n. and others including on the ground in crimea right after this break. hey guys! sorry we're late.
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you are in the cnn news room. i'm jim sciutto in today for don lemon. this just into cnn. russian state media are reporting that president obama spoke a short time ago by phone with russian president vladimir putin. mr. obama reportedly raised concerns about russia's plan for possible intervention in ukraine. no word on president putin's response to those confirmed. we've got fred pleitkin. but also jim acosta. >> reporter: it's been a week and a day since the two leaders spoke, a senior administration official confirms president obama spoke with vladimir putin earlier today. we expect a read out from the white house shortly as to what they discussed during that phone call. as you know, jim, the kremlin
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got the jump a little bit on the white house here in terms of what the contents of that call were. and it does seem that vladimir putin and president obama have a disagreement here as to who is responsible for the unrest, the uncertainty in ukraine. vladimir putin according to a statement coming out of the kremlin says that this is due to ultranationalists in ukraine. so we're waiting to see exactly what the white house has to say about this phone call and what the president expressed. one thing we should also point out is that the deputy national security adviser over here at the white house, ben rhodes, who serves under susan rice, tweeted out just a few moments ago that the president was speaking to several foreign leaders. so we should expect additional readouts in addition to this readout on the phone call between president obama and president putin. it seems that the president was on the phones quite a bit today. that might explain why he was not involved in that national security meeting which took place earlier today as we've been reporting all afternoon, jim. you saw the pictures coming out
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